In the biggest firearms operation ever coordinated by INTERPOL, authorities in Central and South America have made 14,260 arrests and seized some 8,263 illicit firearms, as well as 305,000 rounds of ammunition.
With illicit firearms used by criminals to commit armed robberies and murder, they are also closely associated with the proliferation of a wide range of other crimes using the same trafficking routes.
The links between illicit firearms and drug manufacturing and trafficking were thrown into sharp relief, with the seizure of 203 tonnes of cocaine and other drugs together worth some USD 5.7 billion, and 372 tonnes of drug precursors during Operation Trigger IX (12 March – 2 April).
Law enforcement across INTERPOL’s 195 member countries have reported record drug seizures in the past year and, in many cases, a spike in drug-related violence, fueled by the traffic of illegal firearms.
The operation, which saw an unprecedented level of cooperation across 15 countries, also identified a range of other crimes such as corruption, fraud, human trafficking, environmental crime and terrorist activities.